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I Struggle With Adult Life

Quick note: This was written and drafted on July 30th, 2020. It’s taken me this long to let go and just share this piece. Here it is:

I’m lying in bed right now and I’m unable to sleep. In the morning I’ll wake up and it’ll be the last complete day I spend with my daughter Zaynub before she moves to Dubai with her mother. 

I wrote a blog post last year called “Love Is An Act of Sacrifice” and was meant to write a follow up not too long after…actually I was meant to write a follow up post almost immediately. It outlined what happened when I met my ex-wife to discuss Zaynub’s future and how I felt, the thoughts that I had to process. 

I started writing the post, but I just couldn’t bring myself to publish it, because that would mean really sitting down with the piece, editing it and having to think about it more. I didn’t know this at the time…I just know that I avoided the task of completing that blog post. Then I got busy writing other posts.

On March 8th I had dinner with my friend’s Sofia and Ty and we chopped it up over dinner, discussed my daughter’s impending move to Dubai that year. Expressing my feelings  with my big brother and big sister really helped me attain some peace.

During the pandemic, I had time to think. That wasn’t all I did. The pandemic was full of anxiety and grief and mourning too. I came close to losing my big sis and friend Sofia to the virus. I’ve documented Ty’s death in these posts Cosmic Dust, Tomorrow, Saying Goodbye, and Repressing Grief. I had a couple of friends in China were ill with Covid too. 

During the pandemic, I had time to think. I realised dealing with Zaynub moving away would be a two stage process. 

Stage One: Processing and accepting the idea of Zaynub leaving.

This took weeks, initially I would talk to others about this, but very quickly I decided to just keep this to myself. Dinner with Ty and Sofia helped me consolidate my thoughts and feelings after I’d done the important work of sitting with them myself. Free from anyone else’s influence and suggestions. 

Stage Two: Accepting and Adapting to the Reality of Zaynub leaving.

This is where I’m at now. At the time of me writing and drafting this, she will fly out to Dubai in a little over 24 hours from now. 

I’m teary and utterly overwhelmed with emotions. 

I knew that this day was coming and I knew a fresh wave of emotions would be visiting me. I just wasn’t aware it’d be more of a tsunami. 

The past few months have been a mixed bag, bittersweet:
I dealt with the loss of income due to the pandemic, just when I’d acquired a new skill that I think could completely change my life and finally enable me to pursue my dreams. 

I stressed over 4 friends who were hospitalised with Covid-19. I lost one of them to the virus, came close to losing 2 of them and 2 of them are still vulnerable and I still worry about them both.

My mental health has been tested to the limits and yet my understanding and self awareness around my mental health grows with each day. This enhanced understanding of my mental health is something I hope can benefit my friends whose patience, love and support I want to reciprocate. 

Part of this understanding has been facilitated by therapeutic counselling and as a result I’ve been referred and have started submitting paperwork to potentially explore diagnosis of ADHD and Autism. That’s a longer story and I’ll be exploring that in many more dedicated blog posts. 

The recent weeks have been the most trying of my life as I struggle to process grief, but they have a also been filled with pure joy as Zaynub and I have spent time together. 

We’ve laughed, joked, watched Rick and Morty. I read her some of my poetry and she genuinely loved it. We discussed my divorce with her mother. We discussed my own fractured and dysfunctional relationship with my family. 

Zaynub talked to me about my dreams and the importance of me following my dreams. 

We had a heart to heart about Ty’s death after Shortee Blitz delivered his instalment of “Pass the Torch” (an event held to remember Ty) and Zaynub held space for me to cry and let me hug her as I communicated my pain over Ty’s loss.

Zaynub has confided in me, I’ve confided in her. We’ve expressed how much we’re going to miss each other. 

I’ve acted as a chauffeur and chaperone with her and her friends as Zaynub has tried to squeeze in as much time with her close friends as possible before she has to say goodbye to them. 

I’ve felt love and pure joy. I’ve felt unconditional love. I’ve expressed unconditional love. 

Zaynub has been my anchor for the past (almost) 11 years. But children are not supposed to be tethered to their parents, not physically, nor emotionally.

It’s time to truly uphold the ideals of Kahlil Gibran’s poem “On Children”

On Children 

Your children are not your children 
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself 
They come through you but not from you
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you

You may give them your love but not your thoughts
For they have their own thoughts
You may house their bodies but not their souls
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. 

You are the bows from which your children 
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far. 
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; 
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, 
So He loves also the bow that is stable

Kahlil Gibran

Let this be my North Star as Zaynub’s father. 

3 replies on “I Struggle With Adult Life”

My bro. I love your writing. I feel your words. This departure of children is the most painful thing i have ever experienced. Its been 16 months and not a word from my boys now living in Morocco. Their mother has now started to update me with a few photos here and there. But no calls. No response to emails. I have to accept that, but the underlying sorrow is there 24/7. One day this will change InshaAllah.

Your writing. Alhamdulillah. So raw and real. The best. Xx

Thank you for the kind words brother.

May Allah grant us both strength to endure the changes. I am reminded of the Prophet Joseph/Yusuf in Chapter/Surah 12 of the Qur’an. We must follow his example and be patient.

Sending you love and duas my brother.

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